What You Didn’t Know About Sam Okwaraji’s Death
Nigerians and football lovers were shocked to hear that Sam Okwaraji had kicked the bucket when he was on National duty for his country. Nobody had a prognostication that such an unfortunate situation will happen on that fateful day.
So, did Sam kicked the ball?
Well, he actually kicked the ‘ball’ but against Angola.
Saturday, August 12, 1989, is etched as Nigeria’s football darkest day. The National Stadium, Surulere was parked full for the Eagles’ penultimate World Cup qualifier against the Angolans. With a victory in the game and at least a draw in their last game against a familiar foe, Cameroon will see the West Africans through to World Cup. Everyone was there to witness the first of those two steps.
Nigeria opened the scoring in the first half through the diminutive Stephen Keshi (Late). The fans were in utmost euphoria, but that was suddenly short-lived in the 77th minutes when Nigeria’s number 6 collapsed. The whole stadium went numb! It was Sam Okwaraji lying motionless on the grass!
Samuel Sochukwuma Okwaraji was born in Imo State in I964. He left Nigeria in 1982 to study International Law in Italy. He put his studies on temporary hold to sign for the mighty Roma as a youth player. Having failed to make a breakthrough there, and having belatedly completed his studies, he moved on to Dinamo Zagreb in Yugoslavia and then on to Klagenfurt in Austria before finally ending at Ulm, Germany.
In 1987, he made his international debut against Algeria in Enugu. He instantly became the fan’s favourite, endearing them with his skills and trademark dreadlocks. The future looked bright for the 25-year-old in the national team until his final offering in arguably the country’s most disorganized football game.
The news of his death didn’t arrive until the following day. He had died on the pitch of congestive heart failure and not by the “mythical ball”.
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.